Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m pleased to be here tonight. I seldom read to such a varied audience. My poetry is what it is. Graves, yes, said love, death and the changing of the seasons are the unique, the primordial subjects. I’d like to talk about that. One subjects oneself to art, not necessarily pleased to be a colander for myths. It seasons one to certain subjects. Not all. You can read or formulate philosophies. Your death is still the kernel of your dawn sweats. Poetry is interesting to people who write poetry. Others are involved with other subjects. Does the Ambassador consider death on the same scale as you, Corporal? Please stay seated. I’ve outreached myself. I read your discomfort. But tonight the seasons change. I’ve watched you, in town for the season, nod to each other, nod to poetry represented by me and my colleagues who read to good assemblies; good citizens, good subjects for gossip. You’re the audience. Am I pleased to frighten you? Yes and no. It scares me to death to stand up here and talk about real death while our green guerillas hurry up the seasons. They have disarmed the guards by now, I’m pleased to say. The doors are locked. Great poetry is not so histrionic but our subjects choose us not otherwise. I will not read manifestos. Tomorrow foreigners will read rumours in newspapers. Oh, sir, your death would be a tiresome journalistic subject so stay still till we’re done. This is our season. The building is surrounded. No more poetry tonight. We are discussing, you’ll be pleased to know, the terms of your release. Please read these leaflets. Not poetry. You’re bored to death with politics but that’s the season’s subject.
— Marilyn Hacker, from Presentation Piece (1974)